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A log cabin is a great way to make more of your garden and extend your living space. More substantial than a traditional summerhouse, it can be so much more than a place to sit on sunny days. Add a power supply and it could be your home office, somewhere to entertain family and friends, a base for your business or handy extra accommodation when friends come to stay. A log cabin is also a fantastic focal point in a garden, potentially making your plot more welcoming and more a part of your home.

At Wickes, log cabin offers great value and quality. You can build it yourself, with a little help from your friends. It will be delivered free of charge with all fittings and instructions needed. All models come with pressure treated floor bearers and tongue and groove logs to ensure a weatherproof, draft free finish. You could treat your log cabin with a wood preservative to maintain a natural wood finish, or paint it in a wood colour and style it to suit your home and garden.

Choosing your log cabin

Which size of log cabin you go for will depend on the available space and your budget. Do go for the larger size if there is a choice of two if you can. A good, roomy log cabin is a good selling point too, if you are thinking of moving sometime in the future. The bigger buildings can really add value and give your home the edge over others.

Bigger log cabins have thicker walls, offering more insulation, making a log cabin a more usable space throughout the year. They also have more internal height which is a great advantage, especially for families with teenage children. They will love a garden retreat where they can escape from the grown-ups.

The Shire Barnsdale log cabin is a neat little building that will fit into small gardens, as well as providing a handy retreat in a larger space. With a 19mm wall thickness, it is more substantial than a sectional summerhouse and with a width and depth of just over 2m it offers a useful floor space for occasional use. It is ideal for a couple of comfy chairs to sit and enjoy the garden, or a small 2 or 4 seater table and chairs. With a height of 2140mm it is an unobtrusive building that will not dominate a garden. It is heavy and robust enough for windy sites and ideal for seaside gardens.

Double glazed doors and side casement windows offer a wide field of vision and greatly enhance the appearance. It is an ideal log cabin to surround with evergreen planting, site against a fence or place across a sunny corner.

Because of its compact size this is an ideal log cabin to personalise. It would look good painted with a wood colour. Perhaps Cuprinol Garden Shades Beaumont Blue, to transform it into a Mediterranean hideaway surrounded by pots full or red geraniums. Or be daring and paint it pink, Cuprinol Garden Shades Sweet Pea for that chocolate-box country garden look with hollyhocks and foxgloves.

The Shire Clipstone log cabin is a medium sized, more substantial log cabin offering a generous floor area and more robust construction. 28mm thick tongue and groove logs mean thick walls and better insulation. A generous 2500mm height allows comfortable access and movement within. Double lockable doors for security and windows on the front of the building only mean lots of wall space within.

This building would be ideal for the home office, a study, a craft workshop or just additional living space. You could even use it for an exercise bike and a rowing machine; the addition of a television would make it even more appealing.

Although this building requires more space and is well suited to large gardens, it can fit in well to smaller gardens with less impact than a home extension, and for considerably less cost. Keep it in natural wood, or paint it with a light colour to accentuate the feeling of space, especially the interior. In a small garden, a light coloured building, perhaps one that you look into, can reflect light and make your house feel bigger. Add co-ordinated curtains and accessories to make it feel welcoming.

The Shire New Forest log cabin is more than just a garden building, this is another home. Constructed from sturdy 44mm thick tongue and groove logs it offers fantastic insulation, making it totally useable throughout the year. It is beautifully designed with an attractive recessed porch which offers shelter and shade and a great spot to enjoy the sun or watch the stars from a rocking chair.

Internally it is divided into two rooms which offers you so much choice, occasional bedroom, study, office, workshop, store, the possibilities are endless.

This log cabin will really be a home from home. Perfect for large gardens and spaces where it could be your very own holiday home just a short walk away, what is more, you will use it all year round. Families will love it and it will never lose its appeal. If you have the space for a log cabin of this size it really can change your way of life.

Add power and the possibilities are endless

A power supply to your log cabin will expand its use dramatically. This is worth considering if you have a choice in positioning it. An electricity supply will dramatically increase the possible uses for your cabin and it is essential if using it as a work space. Internet access and phone reception in your chosen location is also worth checking before you build. Always get a power supply installed by a qualified electrician.

Maintaining your log cabin

At Wickes, log cabins come with a 10 year anti-rot guarantee. However, although they are low maintenance, regular treatment with a suitable wood preservative or paint will keep them looking great for many years.

Choosing your summerhouse

A summerhouse is a great addition to any garden, enabling you to enjoy your outdoor space from a different angle, even if the weather is not as good as it could be. It can provide shade or shelter. It is also a lovely feature, a real focal point that can make the garden more welcoming. It has its practical uses: it can be somewhere to store your garden furniture, so that it is at hand whenever you want to use it. It could be a retreat: somewhere to escape to and enjoy a cup of coffee and read a book. On occasions you might choose to use it as your office, or perhaps the children will use it as a sleepover venue in summer. The great thing is that you can personalise it and make it your own; a grown up den that is right there on your doorstep.

Wickes offer a great range of practical, well-made summerhouses that are easy for you to assemble in your garden. All are made from FSC pine and spruce; that means from responsibly sourced plantation timber of the best quality. Strong frames are covered in tongue and groove cladding that will not warp and leave gaps. You will find quality joinery glazed windows and doors constructed to give you the best views of your garden and to enhance the appearance of the building. A roof overhang over the front of each summerhouse gives extra shelter, meaning that you can enjoy your summerhouse with the doors open when it is raining. Summerhouses are delivered for free and come with all the galvanised, rust-proof hardware needed for assembly. Which size you go for may depend on your budget, but will also depend on your available space and how it will sit in the garden.

Our Haddon summerhouse is a compact garden building measuring 7ft x 5ft (2050mmm wide x 1930mm deep including overhang). It is ideal for small gardens and perfect as a den for families. Children will love it and they will not grow out of it, as they will a playhouse. It is also ideal for couples who want a retreat with a couple of comfy chairs where they can enjoy the garden whenever they feel like it.

With no side windows it is ideal where the summerhouse will be surrounded by planting and where it is positioned against a wall or fence. The front windows could be curtained to enable the summerhouse to be used for winter storage if not in use.

Supplied in plain dip treated timber it is perfect to paint, either with a wood preservative to maintain a natural colour, or in one of many great wood colours that can really make it a feature in your garden. Small buildings like this lend themselves to bright colours if this ties in with the surrounding planting. Cuprinol Garden Shades Forget-me-Not is a bright light blue which would look great in a seaside garden, or even a small, modern town garden surrounded with blue and white planting. Choose white flowered evergreens such as choisya, the Mexican orange, and a rich blue clematis to climb up the side of the building. Paint the inside with Cuprinol Garden Shades White Daisy and accessorise with blue and white stripes or checks. You will be surprised how a small space really comes to life and looks so inviting.

The Wickes Buckingham Summerhouse is a medium sized summerhouse, ideal for the average garden. With double doors, full length lights to each side at the front, and on the sides, this is the ideal choice to give wide angled views of the garden. The waved fascia adds to the character, making this an ideal choice to open onto a terrace or a lawn.

In gardens where the main seating area is located away from the house, perhaps because of aspect, the Buckingham is the perfect addition to make that a more usable space. Measuring 7ft x 7ft (2050mm wide x 1930mm deep) it has a generous floor area which could accommodate a table and four chairs for dining. Team it up with a paved area and barbecue and it could be a regular dining destination from late spring through to autumn.

With its generous proportions and extra glazing it would look great painted in a subtle sophisticated shade, such as Cuprinol Garden Shades, Wild Thyme or Muted Clay. These softer shades work really well with the foliage shrubs in your garden, especially dark evergreens. For a traditional look add bay trees in pots and a black fascia detail. For a more Mediterranean vibe the soft silver-green foliage of olives would be ideal.

With any summerhouse you can make the inside space look bigger by painting it in a light, neutral colour. Mix your own by adding Cuprinol Shades Daisy White to the paint you used for the outside. On the floor you can either use a decking paint, or to make it look more welcoming paint the outer edge of the floor with the same colour as the walls and throw down a seagrass or woven mat. This can be great way to accentuate the colour theme.

The Milton summerhouse is a wider summerhouse, offering not only greater width, but a little more height, making that indoor space more versatile and useable. Measuring 8ft x 6ft (2390mm x 1790mm deep) it has an impressive frontage and is ideal to locate against a wall or fence surrounded by planting. Small side windows, wide glazed doors with windows to each side make this a light building, easily large enough to dine in.

The very simple design and lines of this building make it suitable for traditional or contemporary settings with some clever use of colour. Cuprinol Garden Shades in Urban Slate, with a silver birch interior could look really cutting edge with a black weave sofa and natural cushions. Partner it with grey paving and stylish architectural planting and the whole space will look bigger and more sophisticated.

Alternatively treat it with a timber preservative, to preserve the natural wood colour, and it is perfect for a larger traditional garden at the end of the lawn. A base for a croquet set and garden chairs: your very own games pavilion. Because of the size and height this could become a very popular destination for teenage members of the family to socialise with friends. But be careful, they might take over your garden retreat.

Do you need a concrete base?

All Wickes summerhouses come with strong floors, built to last. These are designed to sit on timber bearers. As long as the timber bearers are supported on paving slabs the whole area does not need to be paved or concreted. It is a good idea to lift grass from the area if turfed, position slabs under the bearers and fill the spaces in between with gravel. You could lay a membrane under the slabs and gravel as an added precaution.

Will I need planning permission for any outbuilding?

Many of our compact log cabins and summerhouses may not require planning permission, however, always check with your local council that your proposed log cabin complies with local planning regulations as depending on the, location, size and proposed usage permission may be needed.

Here is an outline of the regulations:

  • No outbuilding on land forward of a wall forming the principal elevation.
  • Outbuildings and garages to be single storey with maximum eaves height of 2.5 metres and maximum overall height of four metres with a dual pitched roof or three metres for any other roof.
  • Maximum height of 2.5 metres in the case of a building, enclosure or container within two metres of a boundary of the curtilage of the dwellinghouse.
  • No verandas, balconies or raised platforms.
  • No more than half the area of land around the "original house"* would be covered by additions or other buildings.
  • In National Parks, the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and World Heritage Sites the maximum area to be covered by buildings, enclosures, containers and pools more than 20 metres from house to be limited to 10 square metres.
  • On designated land* buildings, enclosures, containers and pools at the side of properties will require planning permission.
  • Within the curtilage of listed buildings any outbuilding will require planning permission.

For more information visit the government website

*The term "original house" means the house as it was first built or as it stood on 1 July 1948 (if it was built before that date). Although you may not have built an extension to the house, a previous owner may have done so.

*Designated land includes national parks and the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, conservation areas and World Heritage Sites.

Size

As well as thinking about the outside space, have a think about the inside space and what you will be using it for. If you want it as a relaxing summerhouse you’ll want to make sure there is enough room for the furniture you require.

It can be hard to imagine how your log cabin will look in the space you’ve decided upon so to get a better idea mark out the measurements on the ground with some string and pegs, this will make it easier to visualise.

Make sure you have enough space for access around the cabin if you need it, also don’t forget the height, check that the roof won’t be obstructed by any branches.

Location

There are a few factors to consider that might affect your location. One of these might be the fact that you need planning permission, have a look at our planning permission outline for more details (insert link)

Other factors that might affect your location are:

Usage - What are you going to be using your log cabin for? If you’re using it for a relaxing summerhouse you’ll want to find a location that maximises sunlight through the doors and windows. However if you’re using it as an office you may want to position your cabin so the sunlight won’t glare off your computer screen.

Amenities - Are you planning on installing electrics? Don’t forget to factor the cost of this and the logistics of where the power will be coming from when you’re planning the project as this may affect the location. Speak to a qualified electrician before you start so there are no nasty surprises.

Slopes - Whilst you can of course build level foundations on any slope it will always be cheaper to find a location that is fairly flat, sometimes this is unavoidable but it’s worth giving it some consideration.